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Thread: Problem: External Text Page to javascript string var

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Problem: External Text Page to javascript string var

    Heres the problem. I can view plain text public data from a government web page. But I want to capture that text and put it into a string var in a javascript to parse the data for display in a very different way (create graphical indicators).

    1. How do I get the www.webtext.gov/textpage.txt into a string var.
    2. I would prefer to use pure javascript as my users are very diverse and not all of them have recent brosers (IE8 or 9, Firefox 4, 5 or 6, etc.).
    3. I would be able to use php on the server if that would do it.

    I have be days searching the web for a solution but have found none that suits my purpose.

    Can anyone help?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    You'll need a server-side script to pull the page. From there, you can manipulate it server-side or simply drop the content into a JS variable, JSON, JSONP, or XML response.

    See http://php.net/manual/en/book.curl.php
    Jon Wire

    thepointless.com | rounded corner generator

    I agree with Apple. Flash is just terrible.

    Use CODE tags!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Thanks svidgen. Your suggestion for cURL looks nice. However, I do not own the host server and the hosting company will not allow additions to their vanilla PHP5 install.

    Is it possible to do something similar with php code on the server side?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    I talked to the tech support of my host provider. They were very cooperative and installed the cURL libraries on my host server. So now I am able to work the cURL magic.

    On to the next problem: My intention is to get the text from http://www.webpage.gov/textpage.txt into a local php string variable - which it looks like I will be able to do with the cURL methods.

    From there I would like to parse the text to get certain values in the text. Those values will be used to create indicators for display on my web page. Right now, I am using external javascript modules to make the indicators.

    The problem is how to pass the values obtained by the php scripts to the javascript functions to create the indicators for display (whew!).

    I am thinking it may be easier to do all of it in php. I have not done much of the javascript / php mix of functionality so I turn to the experts for advice here.

    Is it better to just do it all in php? Or is the graphical / display stuff more appropriate (maybe easier) in javascript?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    urbana, il
    there are lots of ways to fetch a url in php, you don't need curl...
    echo 'incoming(' . json_encode(file_get_contents(http://www.webpage.gov/textpage.txt")) . ');' ;
    Create, Share, and Debug HTML pages and snippets with a cool new web app I helped create: pagedemos.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Thanks for your reply rnd_me. I think if you read my post again you will realize that getting the url is not the problem.

    What gets displayed to the user is a by-product of parsing the url content and producing a graphical indicator to display the user on the web page.

    That is a much different situation than your simple code snippet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Well, before I could really say how I might approach it, I'd need to know more. What's an "indicator?" Could you give us an example?
    Jon Wire

    thepointless.com | rounded corner generator

    I agree with Apple. Flash is just terrible.

    Use CODE tags!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Sure, NOAA issues text broadcast reports of solar statistics like sunspot numbers and solar flux index calculations every three hours. I want to take the numbers from that text, and supply the numerical value to visual elements that display the value as a "analog meter". To do that I have to capture the text and parse out the numbers, convert them to a numerical value, and create the visual element for the user.

    I already have the javascript created for the visual elements, I just need to figure out how to capture the text and get it into the javascript functions to display.

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